Good News (Yes, Really!) About Morning Sickness

Believe it or not, there's good news for moms-to-be who suffer from morning sickness: New research published in the August issue of the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that the often debilitating, sometimes-all-day nausea and vomiting that can affect as many as 85 percent of pregnant women actually offers a protective effect. According to the study abstract:

"Our analysis reveals a consistent favorable effect of NVP [nausea and vomiting of pregnancy] on rates of miscarriages, congenital malformations, prematurity, and developmental achievements. The effect size was clinically important for miscarriage, malformations and prematurity. In a few studies the protective effects were more prominent in women with moderate–severe NVP than among those with mild or no NVP." In other words, as bad as those barfy first weeks and months can be, they could mean good things for your baby.

The study isn't the first to find a protective effect from morning sickness—in fact, the research in Reproductive Toxicology is a meta-analysis of 10 previous studies, reports the Wall Street Journal, that were conducted between 1992 and 2012.

The studies involved an estimated 850,000 pregnant women. They examined associations between nausea and vomiting and miscarriage rates, prematurity, birth weight, congenital abnormalities such as cardiac defects and cleft palate, and long-term child development.

The risk of miscarriage was more than three times as high in women without symptoms of nausea and vomiting as in those with symptoms. Women 35 years old or older, who generally have a relatively high risk for miscarriage, appeared to benefit the most from the "protective effect" associated with morning-sickness symptoms, the study said.

It's important to note, however, that it can be perfectly normal to not have morning sickness, as well.

Morning sickness is an unavoidable part of pregnancy for many women. But when does it become worrisome? We'll tell you when you should call the doctor.

Image of woman with morning sickness courtesy of Shutterstock

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